"Aural Architectures of the Divine" (Firenze, 24-26 febbraio 2022)

“Aural Architectures of the Divine” (Firenze, 24-26 febbraio 2022)

Since ancient times, religious practices and the perception of the divine have been determined by the intersection of rite, sound and sacred space. Temples, churches and other sacred buildings not only define a holy place as a physical and symbolic expression of a specific faith, but establish the setting for performative and multisensorial religious ceremonies in which music and other sonic manifestations play an important role. The structure, decoration and furnishing of sacred buildings create specific acoustics which influence the soundscape of sacred spaces. Performative rites such as services, processions, sacred plays or other liturgical ceremonies use the potentials of these environments in specific ways. Vice versa, architecture reacts to ritual and musical developments by modifying venerable sanctuaries or in designing and constructing new buildings.

The interdisciplinary conference explores the complex interrelation of sacred space, sound and rites in transcultural perspectives from ancient to premodern times. The sacred space is understood as a historical product, which was determined by a religion’s theological, aesthetic and socio-cultural context and which – conversely – shaped the performative, sonic and aesthetic dimensions of the ritual activities.

The congress is organised by the research project “CANTORIA. Music and Sacred Architecture” (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) in cooperation with the “Dipartimento di Storia, Archeologia, Geografia, Arte e Spettacolo” (University of Florence). A lecture-concert in the basilica of San Lorenzo with polychoral music composed for this church and for the Florentine Cathedral in the 17th century will prove the interrelation of music, architecture and acoustics at an authentic space.

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